NEW YORK - Workers cheered and whistled as they completed the spire on
New York's One World Trade Center on Friday, raising the building to its
full height of 1,776 feet (541 meters) and helping fill a void in the
skyline left by the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The spire makes
the building the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, 47 feet (14
meters) taller than Chicago's Willis Tower, though it is substantially
shorter than towers in the Middle East and Asia.
"I am very
happy, but also sad, because why did we have to rebuild this tower? It's
a proud day for the city," said Philip English, one of a couple dozen
construction workers on hand as the spire was completed at 7:46 a.m.
local time (1146 GMT).
The skies were crystal clear, reminiscent
of the weather on the day that hijacked airliners crashed into the
former Twin Towers, in a coordinated attack on New York and Washington
that killed about 3,000 people and left the United States on high alert
for future incidents.
Formerly called the Freedom Tower, One
World Trade Center is one of four skyscrapers being built around the
site of the fallen Twin Towers in a partnership between developer Larry
Silverstein and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which
owns the site.
The tower's height is a reference to the year
1776, which marked the beginning of the American revolution against
British rule and is considered the start of what became the modern